Owner ScottishPower had previously stated that the contract was its last hope of staying open, and the company today confirmed “in all likelihood” that it would close the station in March 2016.

The £15m contract was instead awarded to the gas-fired Peterhead Power Station, in Aberdeenshire.

According to a National Grid statement, Peterhead was selected thanks to its ability to provide system stability and resilience, and value for money for GB consumers.

Biggest source of emissions

The announcement was welcomed by WWF Scotland as an important step in the country’s energy transition.

Gina Hanrahan, climate and energy policy officer at the charity, said: “While Longannet has served Scotland well for over 40 years, it is Scotland’s single biggest source of climate emissions and a combination of EU air pollution rules, carbon pricing and factors such as transmission charging have made the aging plant’s closure inevitable.

“However, National Grid have made clear that this does not pose problems for security of supply in Scotland and has taken very prudent steps to ensure grid stability with this short-term voltage control contract for Peterhead.

“Our energy transition is set to continue for the coming decades, with fossil fuels playing only a transitional, background role in our power sector. Independent research for WWF Scotland shows that Scotland can have almost entirely renewable, secure electricity by 2030. With our amazing renewables resource, it makes sense to embrace Scotland’s natural strengths as part of Britain’s shared grid.”

Demand management

SSE said the announcement was “positive news” for Peterhead.

SSE managing director of Energy Portfolio Management, Jim Smith, said: “SSE has continually invested in the site since it opened in 1980 and we’re pleased Peterhead will continue to play an important role in ensuring National Grid can provide system stability and resilience going forward.”

The contract allows National Grid to call upon 385MW of Peterhead’s 1180MW capacity to help balance demand in times of need.

Brad Allen

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